Shooting Challenge #12 - The Winner Is...

By Martin Snelling on at

While the snowy weather kept many of you entertained this past week, some of you took the challenge baton and ran with it. Boy did you run with it; making the job of picking a winner particularly challenging. On the surface, the brief was simple; take a 'streetscape' self-portrait in the style of celebrated American photographer Lee Friedlander. But the challenge was more than just a picture; I wanted the story behind it.

It was a close call this week; there were some fantastic submissions and 'most' of you thought about the story (I'm raising an eyebrow at you Mhatti3000 ;) ).

So, without further ado (drumroll) the winning image is Sarah Rajalabee's 'Empty On The Inside' shot on a Canon G12 (ISO 400, f4.5, 1/100). The image and the story behind it are particularly apt given the current state of the high street.

Sarah: 'The high street is fast becoming a ghost street with big names such as Jessops and Comet disappearing and now HMV going into administration. What will happen to these empty premises? With such big companies going, does this mean that smaller, independent shops will rise to take their place? Or will everything go digital? I also took this photo with staff who have lost their jobs in mind. It's not a good feeling to have. '

Congratulations Sarah on your winning image, and for your other submissions.

In 2nd place is Andrew Wilson's 'iHuman' shot on his newly acquired D20. I really loved the placement of Andrew's face in this shot. Also you get some extra kudos for submitting some images shot on film.

Andrew: 'I took this picture against a dummy in a shop, the dummy was completely undressed, a black mannequin seemingly advertising the fact that there was a sale on, a sale of what I don't know. If it was dressed I could have imagined a life in those clothes but alas..'

Coming in 3rd position is Alfred Hefander's 'Snow day selfie, bathroom window' shot on his Canon PowerShot SX130 IS

Alfred: 'This was a last minute thing. I had no plans on entering this time around, however I changed my mind when inspiration hit me like a snowball out of the blue. It had been snowing all day, and having a 2 year old son I decided to head into the back yard to mess about in the snow and build a snowman. My wife was sitting just inside the back room watching us. I'd taken lots of photos of the snowman and my son, but had none of my wife, so I went up to the backdoor to take a photo through the glass. The composition was such that the darkness of my reflection made it easy to not only see my wife through the glass, but also see myself. This is not the entry piece, there is no way my wife would have set yes to it, but it gave me an idea.

Our bathroom windows are designed to make it difficult to see detail (particularly NAKED detail), but the obfuscation design is on the inside leaving the external sidz of the glass very reflective. The shots (1 & 2) make it look as if it has been put through some kind of photoshop filter, but everything is natural (you can see our bottle of mouthwash through the glass). In fact, I haven't adjusted the photos digitally in any way at all. They are as the camera took them. Natural, spur(ish) of the moment and in the vein of Lee Friedlander. It could almost be a black and white shot, if it wasn't for the subtle yellow light shining through from the kitchen '

And finally, my virtual 4th place award goes to Spencer Hart for 'Hooded'. Spencer shot his image with an Olympus E-PL1 and Panasonic 20mm f1.7.

Spencer: 'I took this when I went for a walk in town after the first flurry of snow this week. I thought my reflection in a melted puddle looked quite ominous, especially with the branches towards the edges reflection.'

As usual, you can see all of the images over on the Gizmodo UK flickr page. We will do our best to add the stories behind the images to the descriptions.

Thanks again to everyone that took the time to shoot themselves. There will be another Shooting Challenge next week; I'm off to look through my little black book to pick a subject.

Martin Snelling is a Hampshire-based man about town who works in the videogame industry. A keen photographer, Martin shoots on film and digital; he blogs here, and tweets here.